Posted on 1 Oct 2013

Michelmores Comment – Treliske Cardiologist under Investigation

Early news has broken of a cardiologist having been suspended at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro. The local radio station Pirate FM questioned the hospital's Divisional Director of Medicine Andy Virr, demanding to know why it had taken 3 months for news of the suspension to be made public. According to Virr, the desire not to cause alarm among patients and their families justified the quiet investigation.

The suspension follows other, serious failures at the hospital, including the death of a woman through maladministration of insulin and the systematic neglect of a man who eventually became too weak for the surgery he required. Michelmores have produced commentary on these two incidents, involving Claire Harry and Gordon Tift.

Speaking with the Pirate FM, Andy Virr referred to the Francis report on patient safety in the NHS, insisting that, in keeping with the report's findings, openness and transparency were the guiding principles behind the hospital trust's approach. However, if the lengthy delay between identifying the issue and revealing it is as reported, it seems that these principles have yet to be met.

Where next for NHS heart surgery?

Heart surgery is a particularly delicate issue in the NHS at present. Following the scandal at Bristol in the 1990s, and the recent temporary closure of the child cardiac surgery unit at Leeds, the debate over surgery standards, staffing and regulatory methods remains very much alive. At Leeds, the heart surgeon Nihal Weerasena also remains under suspension; his fate, and that of the cardiologist suspended at the Royal Cornwall, may shed further light on the current health of heart surgery in the NHS.

To read the article on the Royal Cornwall heart specialist's suspension, click here.

Michelmores have a particular interest in Cardiac surgery cases. Laurence Vick, head of the team, was lead solicitor in the Bristol Heart Inquiry, and continues to be an authority on claims for failed heart surgery.

If you would like to discuss a claim for compensation relating to failed heart surgery, you can call our team of expert solicitors free for discreet, specialist advice.